Getting a divorce is inevitably a highly stressful experience, second only to a death of a spouse or a child. There is so much baggage, so much pain, and so much doubt. Then, you also need to deal with legal aspects of the separation, the finances, the children. In essence, getting a divorce is like being hit by a natural disaster, with almost the same consequences. There are a few very important issues that you need to be vigilant of, and try to prevent further complications.
Are you divorcing a truly difficult person?
There are many civil divorces, hard and painful, but civil. And then there are those that are a living hell, especially for one of the soon-to-be-ex. It is fair to say that many of whom were ever getting divorced would say that their spouse is a difficult person – that is why they are ending it, right? But, there are also especially impossible individuals.
Divorce will possibly make everyone regress and behave a tad infantile, needy, aggressive, uncivilized. And this is expected (although not necessary but expected). You are, after all, ending your life as you have known it for many years, possibly decades. You are feeling betrayed, left alone, deserted, or simply disappointed. But, some individuals take this regression to another level and become narcissistic or even sociopathic.
Related: Steps to Getting Divorced
If this happens, it is only natural that you would feel terrified, and fear of what might come to the ex’s mind. He or she might make things up at court, gossip, frame you to get fired, turn the children against you. And some of these fears are real, some are exaggerated, but there is a way to navigate even through such difficult situation.
First, make sure you and your children are safe before you engage in any kind of interaction with your spouse. This doesn’t only mean physical safety, although it can be an issue, but also psychological safety. If needed, get a therapist that will help you gather enough confidence and be safe.
Then, deliberate on your own values, who you were, how you contributed to the problems in your marriage, and who you want to be now. Build your own independent self, one that you will appreciate and respect. From this position of safety and integrity, you will be able to direct every future interaction with your ex so that you deescalate possible fights and their aggression.
Be aware of your reactions and don’t be aggressive nor deceptive
Once the divorce is in the air, both spouses tend to get scared, and often describe this feeling as losing ground beneath them. It is expected, as you are about to change almost every single thing in your life and you no longer have a husband or a wife to support you – they are the ones who might make it hard.
So, many of us panic and make preemptive strikes, in an effort to secure their position. However, if you do so, and do it deceptively, this will surely be interpreted as a declaration of war. And it could have been avoided. Therefore, even though you might feel that every minute counts, try to get out of the battle mindset.
Don’t assume that you will be having a battle with your spouse. You might, but you might also be surprised. Try not to be aggressive in your moves, and try to remember that you did share your everything with this person once. You probably regret it now, but remember – they didn’t fail you every time. You could trust them once. So, try to bring this state of mind into your interactions and see what happens.
Try not to forget what is truly important
Many of those who are getting a divorce tend to get drawn into an endless treadmill of what’s whose, and who owns what to whom. It may be the only way you feel you can move on but reconsider it. Whether it is earthly possessions, money, or an emotional debt you feel you’re entitled to, take a time out and look at things objectively.
You can’t avoid the feeling of losing something. Unfortunately, everyone involved is a loser in a divorce. But reconsider what is worth fighting for, and what isn’t. The money you give to the attorneys is something you’ll never get back. So, think twice what matters deserve it and what don’t. You might also never get the “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault” from your spouse. But it doesn’t matter anymore, does it? It’s over now, and you have a new life ahead.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.